Segregationist Legislation Timeline 1856-1979

Segregationist Legislation Timeline 1940-1949

The Pegging Act of 1943

The government passed this Act in subsequence of the complaint launched by the White traders and other White racists. The complaints from White traders stemmed from the stiff business competition they encountered from their Indian counterparts or business opponents. The Whites wanted Indians to be precluded from residing in White areas. This Act laid down that Indians should not be granted the right to acquire or own property in the area reserved for the Whites for a period of three years.

The Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation/Ghetto Act of 1946

This Act substituted the Pegging Act in 1946. It was also known as the Ghetto Act and was more restrictive than the Pegging Act. It prohibited Indians from purchasing land from non-Indians except in specified areas. It further prevented Indians from occupying property from the exempted areas. However, the Act implemented positive changes at representative levels. Indians were granted permission to elect three White (not Indian) representatives to the House of Assembly and one of two White senators to the Senate House. The government appointed the other senator. The Act effected no desired changes, in particular political rights, on the part of the Indians because they didn't elect their own people.

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, Act No 55 of 1949
The National Party in its early quest to implement social apartheid introduced the Mixed Marriages Act in 1949. This Act prohibited marriage between Whites and any other racial group. The Nationalists demonstrated in the parliamentary debate on this issue that they were concerned about the rising infiltration by the Coloureds into the White group. When this law was enacted in 1949 there were about 75 mixed marriages recorded compared to 28,000 White marriages.

Factories, Machinery and Building Works Act of 1941

The Act put limitations on number of overtime hours that skilled workers could work in response to the challenges posed by the skilled labour constraints. This provision unfortunately tempered with their take-home pay. The Act also set a minimum safety standards and working conditions. It also empowered the Labour Minister to instruct the Governor-General to require factory owners to allocate racially segregated work, recreation and eating areas for employees and where necessary to safeguard the physical, moral or social welfare of such employees.

Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 1940

The Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 1940 provided for the compulsory registration of White voters only. The attempts by the National Liberation League and African People Organisation to protest this provision never achieved success.

Pensions Laws Amendment Act 1944

The Pensions Laws Amendment Act was passed by the parliament in 1944. The Act provided war pensions and non-contributory old-age pension scheme to African men and women. The Act also extended disability grant to Coloured, African and Indian people. However there was a discrepancy with regard to the payment of the benefits to the pensioners. The maximum benefit payable to African pensioners was set less than one-third of the maximum payable to White pensioners. The Act received a racism-influenced strong opposition from the National Party. They opposed it on the following grounds: White taxpayers would pay, there would be administrative problems determining age and nationality, it would undermine the supply of labour to White farmers (because African people are naturally lazy) it would disrupt the social structure and cause urbanisation and detribalisation, above all they protested that it was not needed.

Industrial Conciliation (Natives) Bill 1947

The Industrial Conciliation (Natives) Bill was presented in parliament by the United Party's government under the leadership of Jan Smuts in 1947. The bill, which received support from employer's organisations drawn from secondary industry, provided for a degree of recognition for African trade unions. This provision was further continued by the Nationalist appointed Industrial Relations Commission, which urged the case for the proper control of African trade unions through the process of certification and registration. However the bill precluded African unions from affiliating to any political organisation or participation in political activities as well as joining any trade union confederation.

Last updated : 12-Apr-2012

This article was produced for South African History Online on 30-Mar-2011